President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday described as a disservice to democracy the desire by some leaders in Africa to remain in power after the completion of their constitutional terms in office.
The President, according to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this at the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
He said such desire often results in violence, loss of lives, and displacements across the continent and called for a stronger position by AU on the matter.
He stressed that attempts at tenure elongation by some leaders reverse the gains of democracy and good governance in Africa, and serve as a recipe for volatility and violence on the continent.
Buhari, therefore, advised leaders to consider strengthening democratic structures and cultures by adhering to the constitution.
The President said: “Mr. Chairperson, let me start by thanking the Chairperson of the Commission for the comprehensive report we have received on Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa.
”We are equally grateful to H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, for his lead intervention on this pressing continental issue, especially for those of us in West Africa, where the spate of Unconstitutional Change of Government has been increasingly alarming.
“Your Excellencies, as you are aware, in the past couple of months, we have witnessed a spate of unconstitutional changes and a return of military incursion in the continent.
”This situation is totally unacceptable. It is an attempt to draw the continent backward and derail the great mileage we had gained over the years in our quest for sustainable democracy.
“In the West African region, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have not shied away from taking appropriate steps and measures to curtail this unpleasant trend.
“I dare say that we have demonstrated great political will, in out-rightly condemning military incursions and unconstitutional Change of Government wherever it occurred.”
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